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Research Reveals Retailers Need More Visibility to Meet Growing Customer-Experience KPIs

Digital transformation has paved the way for new retail business models to flourish, with the rise of new direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce brands like Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, traditional brick-and-mortar stores are struggling, as illustrated by the recent closures of stores like Dressbarn, Charlotte Russe, Payless ShoeSource, Gymboree and more. And studies show this is only the beginning, with Coresight Research predicting that U.S. store closures could reach 12,000 by the end of 2019.

Today’s retail landscape is a competitive and crowded market. As a result, brands are under pressure to deliver personalized customer experiences that cater to the evolving needs and expectations of increasingly skittish shoppers. Oftentimes, this means using digital tools to ensure a seamless merge between online and in-store experiences.

As an example, Target revamped both its online and in-store experiences, using the cloud to improve its online experience, and remodeling stores to provide the same level of convenience as it does online (e.g., the retailer added new features like curbside pickup and added two separate entrances to cater to different shopping experiences).

In the past, customer experience has been a company-wide effort, with marketing and sales teams developing and driving the strategy. But according to recent Accedian research, as companies evolve to keep up with the growing demands of digital transformation, this responsibility has largely shifted to the purview of the CIO.

In order to examine the impact of digital transformation and cloud migration on the role of the CIO, Accedian, a provider of performance analytics and end-user experience solutions, conducted a survey in conjunction with Vanson Bourne of 400 enterprise IT decision makers in organizations of more than 1,000 employees in the U.K., France and the U.S.

The findings reflect the evolving role of CIOs, and highlight their preparedness to meet the needs of their changing responsibilities.

According to the research, 100% of retail CIOs feel at least slightly, partially or completely responsible for customer-service excellence. Furthermore, only 33% of retail-industry CIOs say they have access to the right tools, resources and capabilities to deliver on customer-experience KPIs, and say they require more resources to deliver a positive customer experience.

Additionally, to meet new internal and external demands, 43% of retail CIOs say that migrating IT environments to deliver industry-leading performance and positive customer experiences is a top priority in the coming two years.

The role of the CIO has evolved in order to improve the customer experience, while keeping in mind security, network performance and cost. In order to ensure CIOs have the right tools and knowledge needed to deliver on new customer experience KPIs, teams will need to assess the organization’s current level of preparedness and adjust from there.

In the changing retail landscape, CIOs must possess an understanding of the customer experience at the deepest application level, and have access to a wide variety of performance data in order to monitor physical and virtual digital environments. Additionally, IT teams need to know where performance degradations are happening in order to improve the overall customer experience. Currently, many are expected to do all of this with inadequate resources, greater pressures to deliver and at a faster pace than they are prepared to deliver.

In order to stay competitive, retailers must keep in mind these new business and technological considerations required by digital transformation. Implementing a full-stack solution with comprehensive visibility into the entire digital landscape for CIOs and IT teams will be crucial for delivering a positive customer experience in the new customer-centric environment.

This article was written by Richard Piasentin from Retail Customer Experience. News Features and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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